The Office of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Chair has refuted a news item by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) which inferred that the MSG Chair, Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands is not committed to attending the upcoming Special Leaders’ Summit.

The PINA news item claimed that Papua New Guinea has postponed the MSG Special Leaders’ Summit because Leaders’ are not giving serious attention to it. It claimed the MSG Chair to have said that he would not be able to be present at the Summit.

Secretary to the MSG Chair, Mr Rence Sore said, “The PINA news item is misleading as the MSG Chair is obliged and committed to attend the MSG Special Leaders’ Summit as there are very important agendas to be discussed and agreed on including the motion by the Vanuatu Prime Minister Hon Charlot Salwai for the granting of full MSG membership to the United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP).

“The news item is a serious insult to the obligation and commitment of the MSG Chair and Solomon Islands Prime Minister and it warrants a retraction.”

Mr Sore said the truth of the matter is that the dates proposed by the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Hon Peter O’Neill for the Special Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea- May 26th to 29th– were unsuitable for the MSG Chair as the Solomon Islands Parliament would still be in session.

Furthermore, he said the Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon Milner Tozaka and his Permanent Secretary, Mr Joseph Ma’ahanua would also be in Port Vila during that time for a Foreign Minister’s Trade Meeting.

The Secretary to the MSG Chair said because of these reasons, the MSG Chair proposed that the Special Leaders’ Summit be held from the 29th of May to the 1st of June.

However, he said Prime Minister O’Neill told the MSG Chair that these dates would be unsuitable for PNG due to commitments to the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group summit which will be held in Port Moresby around the same time.

Mr Sore said in light of this situation, the Office of the MSG Chair will be consulting with Leaders on new dates and venue for the Special Leaders’ Summit.

The Secretary to the MSG Chair then urged the media to ensure the accuracy of their reports before publication, broadcasting or televising to avoid creating confusion amongst their readers, listeners or viewers.